Tripwire continues its 100 Graphic Novels You Should Read While Stuck Inside with its ninetieth choice, Trinity by Matt Wagner and reviewed by Tripwire’s editor-in-chief Joel Meadows…
Trinity Writer/ Artist: Matt Wagner Colourist: Dave Stewart Letterer: Sean Konot DC
Today’s choice is Matt Wagner’s second appearance in our 100 GNs list. Trinity was originally published back in 2003 as individual issues and collected a year later. It is a fairly simple tale of how Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman first teamed up in the DC Universe to take on Batman’s greatest adversary Ra’s Al Ghul who has freed Bizarro and plans to take over Wonder Woman’s home island of Themiscyra.
Visually, Wagner with the assistance of master colourist Dave Stewart invests each of DC’s three most iconic creations with a different feel and using a slightly different visual language. Batman skulks in the shadows, Superman takes to the skies like a Greek god and Wonder Woman heroically soars. Wagner’s Ra’s Al Ghul is elegant yet sinister, a real counterpoint to the way we are used to seeing him depicted by Neal Adams.
His cartoony art here really lifts the action to life off the page with some masterful storytelling and he is a very versatile creator. He is as comfortable and proficient weaving fist fights between Wonder Woman and Ra’s Al Ghul’s minions as he is showing the more human side of characters like Clark Kent. He also utilises the coluring and the tones to make specific points about character. In the first issue, the scene where Clark Kent sits with Bruce Wayne in Wayne’s limousine, Wayne is shrouded in shadow while Kent is bathed in sunlight. Gotham here is a city that lives much of its existence in darkness while Metropolis is somewhere which is located in the light. Wagner also tips his hat to things like the Fleischer cartoons, pointed out by Brad Meltzer in his introduction and this lends the story a pace and an energy that it may have lacked otherwise.
Trinity is the perfect introduction to the chemistry between Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman and it is its self-contained nature as a story that displays what an exceptional writer and artist Matt Wagner is and he continues to be. There is a sense that this is a story that celebrates the most iconic aspects of its three principle characters and as with all of the best creators, he makes it look effortless. DC hasn’t always treated these three characters properly over the years but Matt Wagner’s Trinity gets to their heart and offers a tale of adventure which is heartfelt and warm.